The Laser Analytics Group is part of a major research initiative led by Prof. St George-Hyslop from the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research to investigate the molecular mechanisms leading to Alzheimer's, a debilitating and lethal disease, affecting more than 450000 people in the UK alone.
The initiative was recognised by the award of a 5 year Wellcome Trust / MRC strategic award worth more than GBP 5M.
At the heart of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases lies the dysfunction of normally harmless proteins occurring naturally in the brain so that they form toxic aggregates, which cause cells to malfunction and ultimately die. The laser group has developed a novel microscopy method which will play an important role in this research because it allows for the first time the formation of such toxic aggregates to be measured in living species.
The research will be conducted in strong collaboration with groups across the University of Cambridge and involve chemists, physicists, engineers, medics and biologists.